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Wed, Jun 10, 2009

Regional Airline Pilot Training Under The Microscope

Colgan Air Crash Is The Catalyst

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (pictured below) and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt announced Tuesday that they have ordered FAA inspectors to immediately focus inspection on training programs to ensure that regional airlines are complying with federal regulations.

"I have no greater obligation than to ensure the safety of airline travelers in this country," Secretary LaHood said. "One fatality is one too many."

Secretary LaHood and Administrator Babbitt also will gather representatives from the major air carriers, their regional partners, aviation industry groups and labor in Washington, D.C. on June 15th to participate in a "call to action" to improve airline safety and pilot training. This review will address pilot training, cockpit discipline and other issues associated with flight safety.
"It's clear to us in looking at the February Colgan Air crash in Buffalo that there are things we should be doing now," said Administrator Babbitt (pictured right). "My goal is to make sure that the entire industry - from large commercial carriers to smaller, regional operators - is meeting our safety standard."

Department of Transportation and FAA officials said that while they look forward to receiving the results of the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation of the Colgan Air crash, there is no time to lose in acting upon information that is already available.

The June 15th summit is designed to foster actions and voluntary commitments in four key areas:

  • Air carrier management responsibilities for crew education and support;
  • Professional standards and flight discipline;
  • Training standards and performance;
  • Mentoring relationships between mainline carriers and their regional partners. 

Secretary LaHood praised Babbitt's experience as a former commercial airline pilot and former president of the Airline Pilots Association, noting that he brings a deep understanding to aviation issues. "I have great faith that Randy's background as a pilot and his thoughtful approach to aviation matters will help us tackle the issues raised in the Colgan Air crash," Secretary LaHood said. "There is nothing more important than safety and safety cannot wait."



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